Tag Archives: 1951 Le Sabre show car

The Art and Colour of General Motors – Photos by Michael Furman – Part V

The Le Sabre nameplate made its first appearance on the 1951 Le Sabre show car. This car was yet another fine example from the GM Art and Colour department, run by Harley Earl, who was assisted in the design of concept cars with his talented designers. A clay concept version of the Le Sabre first appeared in the fall of 1950 and the actual car was constructed, finished and shown to the public in July of 1951. It was not a Buick, although Buick did pick up the Le Sabre name for 1959.

It in essence, was a replacement of the Buick Y-Job, one of the first concept cars at GM, which Earl used as his personal car and calling card for most of the 1940s. It was one of the first post war automobiles to introduce the world to aircraft design elements, such as the wrap-around windshield and tail fins, that were incorporated into the car. The 1951 Le Sabre pioneered new features such as a dual gasoline and alcohol fuel system, lightweight materials and a moisture sensor which would raise the convertible top if it began raining when the car was unattended.

In January 1953, Earl introduced his latest “dream car”, the prototype 1953 Corvette, at the GM traveling Motorama display at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in  New York City. The sleek Corvette, the first all-fiberglass-bodied American sports car, was an instant hit. It went into production the following June in Flint, MI., after a crash program to bring it to market and to capitalize on the favorable public and media opinion. Only 300 Corvettes were built that first year, followed by two years of production of this style; in 1954 it was mostly unchanged but in 1955, when the new Chevrolet 265 c.i. V-8  became available it was offered in the car.


The photos seen here are courtesy of Michael Furman of Coachbuilt Press, where you can learn much more about his book, The Art and Colour of General Motors. You can also look back on more of Michael Furman’s work here on The Old Motor.

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Posted in Auto Racing 1946 - 1965, Post-War Contemporary Photos | Tagged , , , , , , |